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After Life cover

After Life

Sean Dooley

Landlocked, Cellardyke, 2014


I used to work in the town’s camera shop/photo processors, and local photographer Sean Dooley would on occasion have his films developed and printed there. I’m sure at least one James Yorkston album cover has passed through my hands.

After Life presents us with uniform photographs of animals stuffed and skeletal, each photographed against a neutral backdrop in a number of collections and museums, including the University’s Bell Pettigrew, highlighting an array of endangered or already extinct species.

The book’s closing images of dead birds lain out and tagged are perhaps the most blunt and therefore most affecting, in that absent any attempt to make them appear alive or lifelike, they therefore seem that much more dead than everything else in these pages.

A visual index at the back provides notes on each species’ current status, though since its publication in 2014 this may sadly already be out of date.

Sean used to have some black and white photographs on his website of what looked like the most miserable Christmas ever. I remember them every year.

When not part of the current display, you can find it here: QL88.D6 (science – zoology – extinct animals)



Come along to the Main Library on North Street to take a look for yourself. This book is part of The Hidden Photobooks display which is running from 1 – 30 September and is part of the St Andrews Photography Festival. Everyone is welcome and the event is free. Check out the Library Instagram for photographs Marcus has chosen from his own work to accompany these blog posts. 

The Hidden Photobooks: After Life
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